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Athens News

Is Your Adjustor Awesome… or Just OK?

In the book, “The 8 Characteristics of the Awesome Adjustor”, author Carl Van defines the attributes required in a successful claims adjustor. How does your adjustor measures up?

Characteristic #1: Attitude

Van quotes an old saying; “There is very little difference between people, but that little difference can make a big difference. The little difference is attitude, and the big difference is whether it is positive or negative”. He emphasizes that an adjustor with a positive attitude will have increased job satisfaction and decreased stress.

How does Athens measure up?
Athens was voted one of the 125 best places to work in the Bay Area (determined by employee survey). We believe this is a direct result of the progressive and personally rewarding corporate culture we have developed over the past 30+ years. We promote healthy lifestyles (physically and mentally), personal development and provide ongoing positive reinforcement to all of our Athens team members. Our retention rate is 95% – unique (and unheard of) in the claims industry.

Characteristic #2: Time Management

The author concedes that in the claims business the work is never done. However, he says good claims professionals will not ask themselves how to handle more work, but rather what they are doing to cause more work, and how they can eliminate it. He offers the example of the “Voicemail Calculator”: if an adjustor allows 100 calls to go into voicemail in a week, he or she is actually creating 308 calls because of the required return calls and messages that have to be left again on both sides.

How does Athens measure up?
Athens promotes (and gently enforces) our “ANSWER THE RING” campaign, encouraging adjustors to answer calls as they come in whenever possible.

Characteristic #3: Interpersonal Skills

Author Van encourages gaining cooperation through use of the carrot rather than the stick. He advises avoiding the “Claims Hammer” (negative reinforcement) in favor of the word “help” (positive reinforcement). He provides a great example of what not to say: “If you don’t complete this paperwork, I cannot pay you.” Instead, he suggests: “If you fill out this paperwork I can help you by making sure you get paid.”

How does Athens Measure up?
Athens has created an internal process, AthenShare, which provides a systematic and structured methodology for employees to share customer service tips with the entire organization. Tips are sent to an inbox and the most relevant and impactful are shared with the entire Athens team via our intranet. Employees are rewarded for providing useful tips that positively impact other team members ability to provide a superior customer service experience.

Characteristic #4: Continuing Education

The author emphasizes that a primary attribute of the “Awesome Adjustor” is their desire to seek out self-improvement resources and share them with others.

How does Athens Measure up?
We are committed to promoting self-improvement among our team members. toastmasters meetings in the office and we have a library of books available to the staff to check-out. We are also committed to providing the required claims continuing education for the staff and regularly bring in speakers to the office. At times we dedicate a full day to training the staff with both internal and external educators involved.

Characteristic #5: Empathy

Van instructs that the Awesome Adjustor will recognize that he or she is in the customer service business, not just the claims business.

How does Athens Measure up?
Customer service is our first priority at Athens. We call it AthensCare: The Human Element. It represents our commitment to delivering the highest level of service and support to all customers (both clients and injured workers). Upon receipt of a claim, a Care Card is sent out to the injured worker expressing our sympathy in regards to their injury and listing the contact information for their claims team. Our adjustors recognize that the claims process can be confusing and upsetting for injured workers, and they do everything possible to explain the process and offer their sympathy and support at every step of the claims process.

Characteristic #6: Desire for Excellence

Van defines the desire for excellence as a person embracing their responsibilities as important and worthwhile.

How does Athens Measure up?
We continually remind our adjustors how crucial their role is. Every Athens adjustor is responsible for an average of $9.5 million dollars in incurred value of claims. We communicate this to our Claims Team and encourage them to take ownership of their work.

Characteristic #7: Teamwork

Van asserts that teamwork is created when there is a shared understanding that helping others in the office will create rewards for both the individual who helps, the team member receiving the help and the organization as a whole.

How does Athens Measure up?
The Athens claims process integrates team goals that encourage and reward cooperation and collaboration. These include a “buddy system” in which adjustors are partnered with another adjustor to serve as back-up for one other. Team building exercises are held on a quarterly basis, reinforcing and proactively communicating the collaborative foundation on which our organizational success is built.

Characteristic #8: Initiative

Van states that an Awesome Adjustor will ask, “What steps did I take to get the answer before going to my boss?”

How does Athens Measure up?
Athens encourages, and rewards, initiative, creativity and versatility. Performance appraisals reward staff for demonstrating resourcefulness, thinking independently, streamlining processes, seeking additional challenges and generating new ideas. We actively seek team member suggestions via an internal email address through which employees can submit ideas for improvement in workflow and efficiency.

Striving for Claims Excellence

So how did your adjustor rank? The adjustor a crucial part of a successful claims program. Hiring and retaining the most talented, motivated staff should be a top goal for any claims administrator – Athens commitment to Awesome Adjustors is the foundation for our continued success.

Related Links

www.insuranceinstitute.com/shoppingcart.html
www.claimseducationconference.com/2012/